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Sharon Coleman and Fred Norman on Open Mic Poetry TV

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Sharon Coleman and Fred Norman on Open Mic Poetry TV




This is the San Francisco Open Mic Poetry Podcast TV Show with John Rhodes and Clara Hsu. My segment has Sharon Coleman in it and Clara's segment had Fred Norman. Fred Norman is a Pacifist Veteran who actively supports peace. Sharon is a very active Berkeley Poet. Here is one of Fred's poems:

Torn Between Anger and Grief

I am a Veteran.

I am at a vigil
honoring my fellow Veterans
who died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I am at the Crosses of Lafayette in Lafayette, California —

cleargif.gifmy Crosses of Lafayette,
cleargif.gifcleargif.gifyour Crosses of Lafayette,
cleargif.gifcleargif.gifcleargif.giftheir Crosses of Lafayette,

and I am torn between anger and grief.

I am at a Memorial Day vigil
at the Crosses of Lafayette in Lafayette, California,
my seventh Memorial Day vigil
at the Crosses of Lafayette in Lafayette, California,
and I am torn between anger and grief.

After seven years I finally ask myself: What is the meaning of vigil?
I search and research and find references to watchfulness,
to quiet contemplation, to sadness, to prayer,
but I find no references to anger.

Ater seven years I finally ask myself: What is the meaning of memorial?
I search and research and find references to honoring the dead,
to remembering the dead, to grieving for the dead,
but I find no references to anger.

And I am grieving — Yes! — as one should grieve
at a vigil, but why is it that I am so angry?

I find no references to 3,000 dead Americans on 9/11.
I find no references to 7,000 dead Americans
in retaliation for those 3,000 dead Americans.
I find no references to hundreds of thousands
of dead Iraqis and dead Afghans.
I find no references to little children
machine-gunned while out gathering firewood.
I find no references to droned wedding parties
or destroyed families or unspeakable violence.

I find no references to “Why”,
I find no references to “Who”,
but I know why and I know who,
and that is the source of my anger;
I know why and I know who,
and that is the source of my grief.

Anger and grief, why and who, the living and the dead.
Who is on this Hill? Let us bow our heads and grieve.
Why are they here? Let us raise our heads in anger.
Who are the living? Who are the dead? Who am I,
torn between anger and grief, not knowing what to do,
not knowing how to feel, fists clenched, tears in my eyes?

Perhaps anger and grief are symbiotic, anger necessary
to start a war, grief necessary to understand a war,
both together necessary to end a war, to build a peace,
to memorialize our family on this Hill, to be with them
tonight in a vigil symbolizing our shared humanity.


© Fred Norman, Pleasanton, CA


Sharon Coleman is an East Bay Poet who works with among other things Berkeley City College. Here is a brief bio:


Sharon Coleman's poetry has appeared in Caesura, Criminal Class Review,
The Walrus, Syllogism, Berkeley Poetry Review, Ghost Town/Pacific
Review, North Coast Literary Review, Folio, and online at Full of Crow,
Dark Sky Magazine, and Speechless the Magazine.  She's a contributing
editor at Poetry Flash where her reviews and essays appear regularly.
She teaches poetry writing and composition at Berkeley City College and
French at the Art Institute of California in San Francisco.




Producer John Rhodes
Audio/Visual sound, color

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